Growing Up With a Hoarder
Kimberly Rae Miller grew up in a flea-infested home filled floor to ceiling with junk. Read an excerpt from her new memoir, "Coming Clean," about how she survived her family's secret shame.
My father loved telling this story. I couldn't remember the first time I'd heard it, but I remembered being immediately embarrassed. My parents couldn't even meet like normal parents. After sharing it with friends to shocked giggles I started milking it for all the entertainment value it was worth at parties and sleepovers. But the truth was—as far as orgies go—this one was relatively G-rated, at least for my parents.
My parents referred to it as "the party," because my mother apparently bypassed the part of the invitation that mentioned that group sex would be on the itinerary, and showed up thinking she was going to a run-of-the-mill house party.
My father, newly back from the army, knew exactly what he was getting into, and unfortunately for him this was the one and only orgy he was ever invited to—unfortunate because the little red-head he was flirting with when the party transitioned from chit-chat in the living room to naked bonding in the bedroom grabbed hold of his arm and asked him if he would mind staying with her in the living room—just to talk.
"I couldn't leave her there. Plus, that finger thing she was doing was nice, running her index finger up and down my forearm…" my father said. My mom just giggled nervously, "I thought it was a party!" My parents spent the evening flirting in the living room while their friends got it on in the bedroom.
When I've told that story to friends over the years, I'm often asked if I was conceived that night—I wasn't. My parents didn't become a couple right away. What started that night was an indelible friendship. My parents didn't curl up at night and talk about feelings, but they enrolled in college together, and spent their down time at movies and hustling pool at local bars.
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